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6 Benefits of Fish Liver Oil

About Fish Liver Oil

Fish liver oil is oil obtained from the liver of fish and it is mainly the cod fish liver that is used for obtaining this oil. Hence fish liver oil in essence refers to cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is obtained from the liver of the cod fish. A golden colored oil, cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids – the EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) & DHA (Docasahexaenoic Acid), Vitamins A & D. It also contains small amounts of Vitamin K.

The Atlantic cod and the Pacific cod are the 2 species of cod fish that are used for the manufacture of cod liver oil.

Cod liver oil is a super food that has incredible healing properties. For growing children, it is especially beneficial as it contains Vitamin D which is so important in developing strong bones.

Traditionally, fish liver oil has been given to children down the ages to prevent rickets.


Our body can make EPA & DHA fatty acids from omega 3 linolenic acid. However,those having impaired pancreatic functions as in diabetes, suffering from nutritional deficiencies, those consuming more of partially hydrogenated oils, may not be able to produce EPA & DHA so necessary for proper brain health.

Cod liver oil should be purchased in dark bottles and stored in a cool and dark place.

Some Health Benefits of Fish Liver Oil

  • EPA is an anti inflammatory and therefore it reduces inflammation in the body which benefits those suffering from arthritis and depression. EPA is also necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system. EPA is necessary for the production of prostaglandin, the local tissue hormone that counters inflammation.
  • DHA benefits the brain, nervous system and eyes and it also fights depression.
  • High levels of Vitamin A ensure good vision, faster wound healing, a healthy mucosal lining of the digestive tract and a healthy skin.
  • Vitamin D not only ensures healthy bones, teeth and nails but improves the vision and recovery from injury in diabetics as well as balancing blood sugar levels, helps in proper immunity development, reduces autoimmunity risk,prevents high blood pressure, protects the heart, consequently reducing risk of heart disease and reducing risk to a variety of cancers.
  • Fish liver oil reduces triglyceride levels and is very effective in preventing and treating tuberculosis.
  • It also benefits in colitis, IBS and Crohn’s disease.

Cod Liver Oil Capsules

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cod liver capsulesAtlantic cod fishPacific cod fish
cod liver capsules
cod liver capsules | Source

6 Benefits of Cod Liver Oil


The omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil reduce pain, stiffness and damage in the inflamed joints. In arthritis, the bone cartilage slowly degrades due to the presence of certain chemicals. These chemicals cause inflammation leading to the destruction of the cartilage.

Studies have shown that consuming cod liver oil reduces the levels of these harmful chemicals, thereby reducing pain, inflammation and cartilage damage. Also, the Vitamin D levels improve the bone and joint strength.


The omega-3 fatty acids not only reduce reduce cholesterol and raise the HDL levels but lower triglyceride levels as well. NIH reports that studies show it probably lowers cholesterol by preventing its absorption from the intestine.


Vitamin D improves hair growth and reduces hair loss. Vitamin D is believed to stimulate the formation of healthy hair follicles. It also reduces dry hair.

Those suffering from male pattern baldness show signs of inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids counter this inflammation. The University of Maryland recommends omega-3 fatty acids for hair disorders.

Weight Loss

The Vitamin D content in cod liver oil is also supposed to help in reducing weight since Vitamin D promotes increase in testosterone, the hormone that increases muscle gain and fat loss. Also, high levels of Vitamin D improved weight loss during dieting.

Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce body fat appreciably thus helping in overall weight loss.

Acne And Skin

Cod liver oil is an anti acne miracle solution. The omega-3 fatty acids, the EPA and DHA especially are deficient in most diets. These fight inflammation.

Cod liver oil not only removes acne from face but also from the back. It also removes blackheads from the nose and shoulder but reduces oiliness of the skin, which is the bane of acne sufferers.

Cod liver oil is a boon to adolescents and other acne sufferers.


Mineral oil is one of the remedies for constipation. It acts by lubricating the bowel walls for easier passage of waste matter and also softens the stools. It is hardly absorbed from the intestine.

However in the process of coating the intestine it causes low absorption of fatty acids and other fat soluble vitamins. Cod liver oil when taken during and after treatment with mineral oil can thus replenish these nutrients and is a good support during laxative use.

It must be remembered that excess cod liver oil can cause loose stools and relieve constipation too but high doses can have some detrimental effects on health.


Cod liver oil contains high levels of Vitamin A. High levels of this vitamin are believed to lead to increased birth defects like cleft lip, cleft palate and increased risk of exencephaly, which is a condition where the brain develops outside the skull. High vitamin A levels can also be toxic to healthy adults.

On the positive side, cod liver oil use during pregnancy lowers the risk of juvenile diabetes although high intake by pregnant women causes an increase in pregnancy hypertension risk by up to 500%

Cod liver oil use during pregnancy thus remains controversial.

Dosage Information

One may ask how much fish liver oil should I take, then?

Even though cod liver oil has very high levels of Vitamin A, D and the omega-3 fatty acids, it can be taken safely, if proper dosage is adhered to.

  • For adults and pregnant women: 2 tablespoons of regular cod liver oil or 1 tbsp of high vitamin cod liver oil is safe.
  • Infants 1 – 6 months: 1 tsp
  • Children 6 months – 3 years: 2 tsp; 4 years – 10 years: 1 tbsp; 11 years and above: 2 tbsp

This dose is per day and during winter when not out in the sun.

2 tbsp of regular cod liver oil will provide 15000 IU Vitamin A, 2600 IU Vitamin D and 6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.

Points of Interest

  • Cod liver oil and fish oil differ in the amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients they provide, with cod liver oil providing much more of these.
  • 1 tbsp of regular cod liver oil or 1/2 tbsp of high vitamin cod liver oil will provide as much omega-3 fatty acids, as is found in 12 (twelve) 1000 mg capsules of fish oil.

Safety Information

  • All cod liver oil in the United States is tested for heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and lead and passed only if free of detectable levels of these contaminants.
    Also, since mercury is water soluble, it is not present in the oil, though it could be present in the flesh of the fish.
  • The heavier oil that is the high vitamin cod liver oil, as it is also known, goes rancid much slower than the lighter or the regular fish liver oil or cod liver oil.
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